The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has assembled a supercomputer from a cluster of seventy networked Sony PlayStation 2 devices, each running Linux and networked Beowulf style with a Hewlett-Packard network switch. The graphics processor, designed to handle billions of mathematical operations a second for excellent gaming graphics, is instead being used to calculate quantum chromodynamics simulations.
I wonder if they can be used by third-world countries that otherwise have problems gaining supercomputing power. If so, all those fake explosions in computer games can be turned into painfully real ones. But they'd need a 12-year-old to help set it up....
Ah, Memorial Day. Already the Space Needle has been temporarily (I hope!) decorated with that flag theme that this country has worked upon for the past several decades--red, white, blue with white stars. Can't forget the stars, otherwise we just look French. I'm sure that there are plenty of op-ed columns being written about what Memorial Day is "all about." Some, from the progressive end of the accepted political spectrum, have thoughtfully raised questions of what constitutes a patriot or a hero. Others, from more mainstream media, will of course wax poetically about brave soldiers dying in America's wars, oblivious to the jingoism or to any attempt at understanding their sacrifices in a broader sense.
But we know what Memorial Day is really about: Barbecue and beer. The average American is rather pagan in attitudes, despite paying lip service to the Christian and American creeds. It is only natural that, on the first recognized holiday in mid-Spring and in the absense of Beltane celebrations, hoards of American families will fire up the backyard barbecue grills, prepare steaks and burgers and ribs and other succulent bits of flesh, and sip on intoxicating malted drinks the whole lazy afternoon.
So, from me to you: Happy Charred Meat Product & Fermented Grain Beverage Day!
According to a new study of "functionally important" DNA--that is, DNA that codes for proteins which can modify amino acids in the body--at 99.4% similarity to human DNA, chimpanzees are even more closely related to humans than previously thought, and should therefore be moved to the genus homo. Yes, this incluses bonobos.
They didn't mention anything about YETI DNA, however. I guess science still has a ways to go....
As an expatriate Texan, a progressively-minded voter, and a fan of hell-raising, I've been following the news of over 50 Texas House Democrats thwarting a quorum in order to block a redistricting plan drawn up by US House Speaker Tom DeLay. Jim Hightower, one of my favorite fellow progressive Texan hellions, tells the story from his angle, and it's very enlightening. ALL HAIL THE KILLER Ds!!!
The statistics also show that suicide kills more people than murder does, especially in Europe and East Asia. This also is not surprising, although I would like to see if that trend continues in the US, and in particular on a city-by-city basis.
I wish to apologize to anyone who read last week's entry with the link to the Robert Frost poem "Home Burial", and were so devastated by its sadness that they weren't able to read the follow-up article. I woke up on Saturday to Thea reading the poem for the fourth time in a row, sobbing over it. That wasn't the intention, and I'm sorry if that was the result in you, my faithful reader.
Never Enough Of 'Em Hit Right Between The Eyes Department
I don't often quote from salon.com, and I've been too busy digesting the news to post anything about it--an unfortunate side-effect of post-war climates to me, and maybe a source of depression far as I know....